City of Austin facing increasing housing inequality, report says

A new report by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas shows increasing inequality in the City of Austin. According to the report, vulnerable groups which the report classifies as low-income residents, residents without college degrees and minorities, are showing a population decline in Austin. Many are being priced out, and moving further away from the city center.

At the same time, the population of college graduates living within three miles of Austin has surged by more than 15 percent since 2000  and the median income of those living that same distance from the city has jumped by almost 70 percent.


Wesley Adams, has lived in an apartment in Johnston Terrace in East Austin for more than a decade. There he’s raised two children and multiple dogs. Now, the family is being priced out. 


“I work here -- do all that good stuff here. Walk my dogs and everything. I’m part of this community but I’m gonna get pressed out.” he said. 


According to Realtor.com, Johnston Terrace is one of the top ten fastest gentrifying neighborhoods in the country.


“The condos and stuff like that just start springing up -- and the houses and stuff and I mean, that’s fine. It’s just gentrification is kind of pressing me out.” Adams explained. 


“Many black families have lived in Central East Austin, many black and brown communities --  and because of taxes and other issues they’re being pushed further and further out,” explained Nefertitti Jackmon, manager of the city’s neighborhood housing and community development program. 


Adams has until August to move. The parking attendant, who recently had a stroke is worried when he does, the cost of gas will keep him from living the life he is accustomed to. 


“I live here, I stay here, I work here -- you know? I go to a church here -- St.James so it’s kind of like if I were to move elsewhere it’s like -- I don’t know if I could be doing that, you know?” he explained.


Jackmon explained, “there’s gonna be a greater burden on the suburban areas as they don’t have the infrastructure yet to deal with some of the social needs that people will need as they begin to move out into the suburban areas.” 

Jackmon says the city needs to be diligent in creating policies in the land development code that meet the needs of a large number of people.